Browsing Category 'SUMMER 2012'

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Embedded journalist and designer Jessica Charlesworth joined the division for the final leg of our Alien Encounters road trip from Roswell, New Mexico to the Burning Man Festival. Jessica has documented her time with the division in this long post on CORE 77. You can also follow the division prepare their expedition as we build our old school bus as a solar powered nomadic studio , then we load it up with our Burning Man survival gear, and raid Walmart for  water and supplies. You can also see all of Jessica’s photographs from the expedition in the core 77 Unknown Fields gallery.

unknown fields set up burning man film brainstorm

Photography by Jonathan Gales and Jessica Charlesworth


For the Summer 2012 Alien Encounters expedition publication Unknown Fields are collaborating with comic illustrator Kristian Donaldson to develop a graphic novel set in the landscapes visited across the road trip. The novel will follow a fictionalized Unknown Fields division as they explore the desert wastelands attempting to decipher the meaning of the black technologies they uncover on their way. Krisitan is a Texas based illustrator. His previous works include Brain Woods’ ‘The Massive‘ and ‘Supermarket’ .

After our Alien Encounters nomadic studio expedition  from Roswell New Mexico to the Burning Man festival the Unknown FIelds DIvision will be setting up a temporary setlment for 5 days in the ex military base in Marin Headlands, across the bridge from San Francisco. Employing contemporary surveillance technology to map the post-militarized Marin Headlands, the group will hack the landscape to imagine extraordinary futures.

Participants will take sorties across the diverse local terrains led by a group of collaborators assembled from the worlds of art, architecture, technology, and fiction. Together we will  perform critical maneuvers – deploy infrared night vision cameras to peer through the mist; laser-scan forests using hi-res, long range optics; design a small armada of stealth objects; build a fleet of re-purposed surveillance drones to map the land from above. In these shifting fields of nature and artifice, we will re-examine preservationist and conservationist attitudes toward the natural world, the ecologically fragile, and the technologically obsolete.

Going us will be Geoff Manaugh [BLDGBLOG] and Nicola Twilley [Edible Geography], LIDAR surveyors Scanlab, Factory Fifteen and many more. The program runs from September 7-September 12, 2012. The deadline for applications is July 17th. See the website for more details.

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In the summer of 2011 the division travelled on a cross section through landscapes of obsolete futures from the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, through the Ukraine and the oil fields of Azerbaijan to rocket launch pad of kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrone. For Summer 2012 they go in search of Alien Encounters on a roadtrip from Mexican Border towns and the Roswell UFO crash site, through Area 51 to the Burning Man Festival.

Unknown Fields is a nomadic studio that throws open the doors of the AA and sets off on an annual expedition to the ends of the earth exploring unreal and forgotten landscapes, alien terrains and obsolete ecologies. Each year we navigate a different global cross-section and map the complex and contradictory realities of the present as a site of strange and extraordinary futures. You will be both visionaries and reporters, part documentarian and part science-fiction soothsayers as the otherworldly sites we encounter will afford us a distanced viewpoint from which to survey the consequences of emerging environmental and technological scenarios.

This year the Division will be heading off on a reconnaissance road trip to chronicle a series of extraterrestrial encounters from the borderlands, black sites, military outposts and folkloric landscapes of the United States. From the ‘illegal aliens’ of the New Mexico border towns we will head north exploring territories of negotiation and conflict, zones of transgression, suspicion and speculation. We will rumble along the UFO highway, past the mythic territories of Area 51, listening to tall tales from conspiracy theorists amidst the sonic booms crackling in the quiet desert air.

We will visit covert military test sites and the alien technologies of the aeronautics industry as we shape our own experimental craft to launch in the skies above the psychedelic community of the Burning Man Festival, where our journey ends. By the bonfires we will examine the mysteries and conspiracies that surround what lies off the map, off-grid and below the radar as we propose new truths and expose alternative fictions.

Joining us on our travels will be a troupe of collaborators from the worlds of technology, science and fiction including Geoff Manaugh [BLDGBLOG], Nicola Twilley [Edible Geography], futurist Stuart Candy and UFOologist, folklorist and author Mark Pilkington. Together we will form a travelling circus of research visits, field reportage, rolling discussions and impromptu tutorials that will be chronicled in an annual publication and travelling exhibition. Throughout our journey the Division will identify opportunities for tactical intervention and speculative invention as we examine the unknown fields between truth and fiction.

Enlist now before all the postiions are filled! Email info (at) with any questions.